Everything You Need to Know About PPC Click Fraud

PPC click fraud has become a very hot topic for advertisers recently and as someone who has extensive knowledge on paid ads in general, across numerous networks, I want to cover the following topics in this post:

  1. What click fraud actually is.
  2. How click fraud operates in regards to PPC.
  3. How to spot and prevent PPC click fraud from happening to you.
  4. What will save you even more money than preventing click fraud (let’s just say that most of your money isn’t being wasted on click fraud, but a much bigger problem you probably didn’t know existed).

First, here’s a short summary of my extensive PPC experience:

I do a lot of pay per click affiliate marketing, and have extensive knowledge on the following platforms:

  1. Google Ads (I’ve had massive profits, losses and passive income earned on this network).
  2. Bing Ads (I’ve had numerous six figure incomes generated off this PPC network alone).
  3. Facebook Ads (not much in traffic, maybe several 1,000 clicks on ads, not that many sales. Just being honest with you).

Since PPC click fraud affects these 3 primary networks most, this is what I will be focusing on in this post. Aside from this, you’re welcome to read my personal about me page, and also my affiliate income reports page for more experience related content in not just PPC, but affiliate marketing in general.

Anyway, let us continue:

ppc click fraud

What exactly is click fraud? The many meanings behind this term explained:

Click fraud’s definition can change depending on the context in which it’s used. The short definition is that it’s an illegitimate click you get, whether on your site or an ad you placed online. Here a few simple examples that illustrate this:

1) Click fraud regarding site flipping.

Site flipping is the process in which you create a website, build it up, then resell it for a high value. The value is often determined by how much traffic the site gets.

There are unfortunately people in this world who inflate their traffic numbers through click fraud services that send bot traffic or junk traffic to such sites and on the front end to a seller, give off the impression that the site is popular, thus encouraging the buyer to get the site. Because the buyer doesn’t understand what click fraud is or how to “audit” the traffic numbers to see if it’s real or fake, they are thus scammed.

2) Click fraud regarding people visiting your site through SEO:

There are certain traffic generating services out there that people can hire to send traffic to their site. This is often cold and junk traffic that has no intent to do anything on your site. Sometimes such things are used for negative SEO attacks.

3) Click fraud regarding PPC (pay per click):

Since PPC is the main subject of this article with regards to click fraud, here’s how it works: Competitors who see your ads on one of the networks I listed above hire either real people or literal bots to click on your ads, thus wasting YOUR budget.

Because the clicks are either junk or fake (bots), you end up losing money and ruining your profit margins.

Ways to spot and prevent PPC click fraud from happening to you:

There are several ways to combat click fraud and here are some of the most legitimate options available:

1) Use IP identification services to figure out what clicks are legit and which ones are fake:using ip addresses to find click fraud

You can actually do this manually and block traffic that is suspicious.

Typically traffic coming in from third world countries is where most click fraud traffic originates from, and the IP addresses of such places will show as being suspicious.

2) Use automated tools that spot suspicious clicks and traffic, then block them:

Services like Clickcease do such things and they offer a free trial which helps you with this problem.

3) Don’t advertise your ads across the world. Be super targeted:

stop ppc click fraud by geo targeting

Inexperience in PPC is like an open door for click fraud folks.

One of the biggest mistakes I often see people make with their ads is they advertise them worldwide.

This is a massive mistake because while you get more exposure for your ad, a few counterintuitive things happen as well:

  • First, your PPC costs skyrocket (broader reach, means more competitors, means more costs).
  • Second, your ad will likely show up in countries where click fraud happens more commonly.
  • Third, the less targeted your ad, the more other competitors will see it, and there’s a chance one of those competitors have bad intentions.

The point is, know how to be super targeted with your PPC ads, so ONLY the right, targeted audiences in the SPECIFIC locations and for SPECIFIC keywords see your ad.

This minimizes your reach, but enhances the value of the visitor and clicks you get so it’s only the right people who see and click on it. This also reduces your costs in ways you cannot imagine (a lot of savings).

Let me put it this way:

  • Following PPC guidelines on many networks will have you spending $2 or more per click on broad traffic.
  • Following smart PPC guidelines on many networks will have you spending under $1 per click for targeted traffic. You’re literally looking at twice the savings and several levels of higher value traffic.

Furthermore, targeted ads are harder for click fraudsters to spot. Typically click fraud is more common for people advertising under broader keywords. See the following example to understand what I’m talking about:

ppc click fraud and how to save money

What will save you even more money than preventing click fraud (2x-3x the savings, 2x-3x higher value traffic):

One of the most frustrating things I see in the PPC world is how often people absolutely miss the mark on what’s truly making them lose tons of money, and ironically, it isn’t click fraud, it’s actually the PPC networks themselves.

What I mean is this: Very often, PPC networks are set up to make it easy for you to make ads to steer people to your business or online sales funnel. However, they are also extremely simplistic in their set up in that they will try to get you to spend more money on the ad, the clicks so you can get more reach.

While on the surface this seems like a good idea, the truth in my experience is that this gets you more cold leads and for higher costs than you can often afford. In other words, by often following what PPC networks tell you to do, you will actually end up wasting money.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had conversations and “suggestions” from “PPC expert representatives” on these networks that have told me what I absolutely knew would be a mistake for my ads, that would lead to way higher costs and end up reducing my ROI substantially, if not putting my campaigns at an absolute loss.

These experts often don’t know left from right when it comes to what really helps, but the good news is that the network itself is designed in a way where you can manually set up your ad regardless, and by knowing what to do in order to set up a high quality ad, target the right audiences/keywords, and pitch a good product or service to them, you will:

  • Reduce your PPC costs.
  • Get a far higher ROI.
  • Not even have to worry about click fraud because you’ll be so targeted.

Let me give you an example:

How much you can save preventing click fraud vs making good quality ads:

Example 1:

Let’s say a person advertises a health product on a PPC network (very broad topic).

They are new, and follow the guidelines of the said PPC network to make their ad. They target tons of keywords, going very broad with their reach and in 7 days time, the following happens:

  • They get 10,000 clicks.
  • They spend $2 on each click ($20,000 total PPC costs).
  • They sell a $1,000 program and make 5 sales.
  • $20,000 in costs, $5,000 in revenue. $15,000 LOSS.
  • This is typically how an ad campaign goes if you’re not careful.

But then they get use a good PPC fraud prevention tool like Clickcease, and 20% of their clicks are considered bad. Therefore, in the next 7 days:

  • They get 8,000 clicks.
  • They still spend $2 on each click ($16,000 in total costs).
  • They did save $4,000 thanks to Clickcease.
  • And again, they make 5 sales for $1,000.
  • Now their costs are $16,000, their revenue is $5,000, and they still lose $11,000.
  • It’s less losses than before, but there’s still a HEAVY loss.

I can’t begin to tell you how many people and giant companies I’ve seen lose this much money and more following the general rules of these ad networks and being clueless on what to really do to fix their loss problems!

You’re likely better off going to a casino and throwing money on games whose rules you don’t even know at this point. But what could be done? Well this is where we get into the next example:

Example 2:

Let’s say a smart PPC ad maker promotes a diet product through there (much more specific).

They don’t follow the guidelines of the network and instead set up their own intelligent campaign from scratch, only targeting a SPECIFIC audience that would love this diet product.

They set up their ad, target only a few keywords, and in specific regions they know their ideal audience would see the ad. Here’s what happens:

  • Over a 7 day period, they get 1,000 clicks.
  • For each click, they pay $0.50. Thus they spend $500.
  • They sell a $1,000 product and get 10 sales. So $10,000 revenue.
  • Thus their campaign has a $9,500 profit.

This is what happens when you intelligently set up PPC campaigns and I don’t even need to worry about PPC click fraud in this case.

So by reading this post, I hope you understand just how much less worried you should be about PPC click fraud and more focused on how to properly make good, targeted campaigns. This is really what matters most.

Want to become a PPC expert? Let me help you there:

ppc courses and help 01

I have 2 options and I prefer you use the second (it’ll save you more).

1) If you wish to get my consultation on PPC, feel free to contact me here.

2) But what I recommend above all else is to educate yourself so you don’t need to spend money on people like me or others who you don’t even know are even qualified to help you.

For this, I recommend only 1 program: Wealthy Affiliate. Their PPC education is how I got to where I am today in life.

They feature tons of training, mostly pertaining to Bing Ads and succeeding with the same exact principals I laid out there (but in much greater detail).

By following and applying that training in my own campaigns, I was able to get seriously good ROI results with my ads. Furthermore, they also have Facebook Ads training which teach the same principals and even better, the same Bing Ads training is equally applicable to Google Ads, so in short:

If you want to succeed at the main PPC networks out there, Wealthy Affiliate is what will help you do it. The cost? Well they have a free membership, but this doesn’t include the paid ads training.

If you’re serious about learning this, join the Wealthy Affiliate premium plus membership which is $99 a month to get FULL access to all the training and future training on this topic (Google Ads, Bing Ads and much more). I’m also personally available there for help so you get even more value.

Overall, spending $99 a month to save $1,000’s and $10,000’s on PPC costs is something I’d strongly recommend if you’re already heavily or seriously involved with this world of online marketing, but if you have any questions on this stuff, feel free to comment down below.

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